Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ye Olde

The night my godson was born, we went to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese to drink Sam Smiths and toast to the new baby. We then hopped on one of London's romantic-looking double decker red buses to head home sometime around midnight. In a last minute decision, I jumped off the bus four stops earlier than we had planned. I'm an adult now, so I waited until the bus pulled away to lean over the nearby ledge and vomit.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Oh, Sainsbury's self check-out. We've had some great times so far and you have always been there me during my short stint as an expat. Why, oh why, do you not accept my freaking 20 pence coins?

This is just an example shot from the internet. But do you see the date on those coins? 1982. WHY DOES YOUR MACHINE NOT RECOGNIZE THEM AS BRITISH CURRENCY?! You made me look like a fool when all I wanted to do was buy my yoghurt and honey probiotic "thickie" (it was good. First time trying it.) and some fruit and salad for lunch. I had to get my bag all spread eagle on the scale/scanner part of your machine, which caused it to keep telling me to wait for assistance because I was putting unrecognized items on the scanner. I refused to use my debit card for the remaining 49 pence. You get your life straightened out, immediately, Sainsbury's. I only want to love you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

And just like that... the next day was better.

Today was much better. I had a fine day at work. It was sunny outside. I got to wear corduroys. Dinner was delicious. An amazing book. And John.

Feeling better.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday night bleeehs.

I have a list of good topics to write about, but I don't feel like writing any of them at the moment. I'm feeling very blah this evening. Earlier today, I went for a great walk in the sunshine through Finsbury Park, found a shopping center with some great shops in it on the other side of the park, and than meandered around the park perimeter on my walk back home. I got an amazing new reusable shopping bag (strangely, one of the things I miss the most are my well-worn and stained Trader Joe's bags that I used for everything) with a peacock on it that says "I am naturally handsome." I'm not really sure why it says that, but who can argue? 

Most days, I feel generally good. I've been having anxiety when I sleep. I wake up with an anxious stir most mornings, and it is not pleasant. I know it just takes time. I know this. But today is just really making me wish I were in Philly in pajamas on a familiar couch. Though, I often got blah on Sunday nights in Philly, too, so maybe I should just shut up and get over it already. I will feel better tomorrow? I will feel better tomorrow. 



Sunday, September 12, 2010


I'm all packed, and our visas are both approved. Just waiting for John's to arrive, hopefully tomorrow. At this point, we plan to fly out on Tuesday night. Then we have three days and the weekend to extensively flat-hunt, and then I start work on Monday! Insane. I hope I don't suck at my new job. 

We're currently watching our last bits of Sunday Night Football. From now on, the night games will start around 1am our time. McNabb looks weird in a Redskins uniform. 

I'm nervous about finding a place, but have resigned myself to heading to my first day of work directly from the hostel. That will be...subversive? Disgusting? Will report back from the other side. 

It has been amazing spending time with the people we love over the past couple of weeks. It has totally affirmed that we are surrounded by so much love and support and, really, that we have amazing taste in good people and have been fortunate enough to trick them into spending time with us. I'm really starting to get sentimental about missing everyone. I don't think it will fully hit me until I arrive in the UK. The internet makes things easier, no doubt. In the meantime, I'm trying to stay in denial until everything that needs to be done is done. "No tears 'til London" is the new "no sleep 'til Brooklyn."

My debit card and cheque book arrived. My PIN and account info is following it in the mail. That's annoying. I hope the account will be good enough for my company to pay me, because the fake money mentality we're employing to make it through the next month cannot go on indefinitely. 

Dallas just lost to the Redskins! That feels great. 


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Visa applications sent!

Boyfriend and I both mailed off our visa applications yesterday. Time to cross our fingers and wait. We then celebrated with Wawa hoagies. Mmmmmm.

In other news, there really isn't a better way to put your relationship under a microscope quite like making plans to move to another country with someone. I miss my cat. I miss my apartment and my space. I miss all of the things I threw away in a spastic moving-day meltdown. But they're all really just THINGS, and I'll get over it and be just fine.

Anyways, as I was saying, I've been so hypercritical of our relationship lately. I ask for reaffirmation over and over that he wants me to come, as if I'm going to crack a secret code and he will unwittingly admit that no, he doesn't want me there. After I get that out of my system, I move on to "what if we hate each other when we get there?" We won't have friends or family nearby and even though it's a new country, that sounds so lonely and somewhat stifling. I think I'm worrying too much.

For now, I should still be focusing my anxiety on getting my visa and NI number, securing a bank account, and finding a place to live. The other stuff will be okay. And if it's not, I'm in EUROPE. I'll take a $30 flight to Prague or something.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pretend Conversations

When I have fake conversations in my head with my new boss, my new coworker who I will be sharing a cubicle wall with (and know nothing about except for his name and that we share a boss and a job title...and I stalked his picture and he looks fun), rude people in the tube, or other miscellaneous fake new characters in the UK, I have a hard time not putting on a faux-accent. 

I feel confident that I won't actually do this when I speak out loud with these people. Just as I can't/don't dance like the little person that dances in my brain when I hear "Technologic" or "Love Lockdown." 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Typical Anxiety-Ridden Sunday

This is my second to last Sunday working as a Graduate Research Assistant at the library at Moore College of Art & Design. It has been an amazing opportunity to make some extra money and do any research on jobs and, lately, on moving to London.

Currently, the most anxiety-inducing things on my list are:
1. I need to be out of my current apartment by August 31st. I'm hoping to move everything out on Friday and clean whenever possible so I can hand the keys to the landlord on Monday. Since I'm (hopefully--visa pending) moving abroad, I'm getting rid of all of my furniture. And sadly, my little guinea pig. I don't want to drop him at an already-crowded shelter, but it's looking probable. Sad face.
2. Getting a bank account. I applied with Barclay's for an international account but am worried about the minimum salary requirements. If they go by the salary for my new job, I qualify. If they take into consideration my current salary, I do not. I think I'll call tomorrow and bug them again. Me and Chloe at Barclay's are BFF these days, and I need to change my address, either way.
3. Visa. I'm being sponsored for an intracompany transfer under Tier 2. I should be okay, but can't help fret about it, anyways.
4. Timing! I am begging all of the gods in the ether to make it so Boyfriend and I can travel and apartment-hunt together. If we can't... well, at least it will make for some interesting writing, no?
5. Getting out of my cell phone plan. Good thing I re-signed for a two year contract TWO DAYS before getting offered the job in London. Apparently it's nearly impossible to avoid the $350 @#@$%)$#%&#$*)#@&* early termination fee. Am considering telling them I've been deployed, since that appears to be the only get out of jail free card. But I can't really prove that. Maybe I can convince a customer service rep that Elsevier is a secret branch of the military? We used to deal arms, you know.

All of the expat blogs I've been reading have helped me tremendously. I know it's normal to freak out the way I've been freaking out. I just. GAH.

I just shrug sometimes and hope I'm doing everything correctly. I suppose the visa is the most important thing at this point. Once that is in my hands, everything else can hopefully be figured out.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

This Started as a Blog About Trying to Find Library Work, but Now Something Awesomer has Arrived

I started this blog as a way to stay in touch with the library community and to keep myself writing. But then, life got weird. So let's reevaluate.

In 3 to 6 weeks, depending on the visa processing skillz of the UK Border Agency, I will be moving to London to continue with my current career in publishing. In sticking with the original theme, I do hope to find part-time library work, or at least volunteer at one of London's amazing museums or libraries. But first I'm going to do everything I can to enjoy London and learn it all as much as possible. 

So far, things have been tricky. My employer is sponsoring my work visa, so I'm on their timeline. My last day at both jobs is in 2-3 weeks, and who knows whether I'll be leaving at that point or if I'll have two weeks to putz around Philadelphia as cheaply as possible. 

I am trying to secure a bank account before I get over there to make things easier, but that has also morphed into a WHO KNOWS! conundrum. For me, the best option was to open a Barclay's International account, but of course I've run into so many complications it's not even funny. Truly, I don't know what I'm going to do. I paid $40 to send the paperwork global priority to try to expedite the process since, again, I don't know when exactly I'll be leaving the US, and received an email on Friday saying my application had been cancelled per my request. Meanwhile, I had spoken to a representative previously explaining the situation, and she assured me that all was well and the application would not be cancelled. This is a misunderstanding that I hope can be straightened out on Monday.

I'm terrifed to have to find an apartment on my own. Boyfriend, who will be studying at Kings College of London, also does not know when his visa will allow him to head over yonder. So we're both waiting. I pray that we'll be able to travel together. Otherwise, this may be the last you hear from me, since I'll be huddled in a cold, damp ball somewhere on a London street corner.


One interesting phenomenon so far is that I can't be excited enough. People ask whether you're excited, and you say yes, and it always feels like I'm letting them down. There is no way to adequately express the excitement. No emphasis or amount of expletives seems good enough. The high is not what they'd expected or something. There is also no way to adequately explain how surreal and somewhat terrifying the whole thing is. I know I am being given an opportunity so incredibly precious and special, but there are so many unknowns. There is homesickness on the horizon. Inevitable tears. Adjusting to living with Boyfriend, who will be stressed about school in his own right. New job. New boss. Not a familiar face to be had except for Boyfriend. He is wonderful, but friends are nice, too.

In summation: this is huge. I will not love London the way tourists love London. I will be living there. It will hopefully come to feel like home, and I'll love it for all of its quirks the way I love Philly. We'll see!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Book Recommendation: Nothing to Envy

I am an avid reader. Especially since trying to cut the fat out of my spending (thus canceling my cable and Netflix accounts), I have been reading nonstop this summer. This book, Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, was recommended by a friend who is very aware that I had no real interest in North Korea, nor any real background of their history. It doesn't even matter. This book is absolutely terrific. I now read up on every article that mentions North Korea in the news, and I feel like the people living there are distant cousins who I desperately want to hear from. It's heartbreaking, but strangely hopeful in the spirit of the defectors interviewed by the author.

Your library should have it. If they don't, get them to order a copy. There is a waiting list to get them at my library. You will not regret it. I know it seems weird to read a book about North Korea. And you don't know me, so maybe this is a big joke. But. It's not. This book is spectacular.

GRADUATED! Cue the loan payments from hell

While this could easily turn into a rant about how the ALA and other organizations need to stop promoting library science degrees like they're the new hotness, I'd rather focus on the ways in which to calm your debtor nerves.

Use loan refunds/surplus to pay your credit cards down, down, down.
I know a lot of people who have used loan refunds to treat themselves to something at the end of the semester. I was certainly guilty of this to an extent, but the looming loan payments made me more concerned about my credit card debt. I used my tax return and all loan refund money to pay my cards off. Now, I'll start repaying my enormous loans, but at least they are currently my ONLY debt.

Live below your means. Get two jobs. Find a way to find extra money.
This is easier said than done, as most of the time if someone used the phrase "extra money" in my presence I would spit my free tap water in their face in amusement. However, just like losing weight boils down to the hard work you put in and calories in versus calories out, money woes often boil down to the same money in versus money out ratio. Unfortunately, loans are a total bummer in the "money out" category, as they're just kind of hanging there, being useless. I got a second job primarily for professional reasons (as an internship for my MLIS program), but the financial reasons are why I keep it up. I'm able to live a lot more comfortably with just a meager extra paycheck. My bills are all paid and I've been able to save money. I am not one of those people who are fortunate enough to have what they call a "savings fund." Currently, I have $2,000 in savings, and that is a huge accomplishment for me. It's almost shameful to admit that, but whatever. Try to set up rules: no going out for drinks on weeknights, or if you do, only during happy hour.

You can cut down frivolous expenses pretty easily. Leave your cards at home. Carry an allotted amount of cash for the week. When that cash runs out, so does your spending for the week. Cook at home. Trader Joe's is cheap and easy.

For lunches at work, I buy hummus, pita, and carrots every Monday on my walk in. These items last me the week. Five days of lunches for $10 is not too shabby, and saves me about $60-80 per month.

Review your repayment options carefully.
Until very recently, I didn't know I had repayment options. It took a lot of digging to uncover what all of the fine print rules mean. Last week, I filed for Income Based Repayment. With loans that are nearly double my annual salary, I couldn't work out the math in a way that would allow me to make payments and not hate my life. I haven't heard back from my loan provider, yet. We'll see.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Holy shit. I'm pretty sure I just spent $30,000 on an excuse to not write anything for awhile. Scratch that. It was $40,000, plus every Saturday and Sunday of my 25th and 26th years. I can't even believe that I am applying for jobs in publishing.

I can't even believe that still, all I want to do is sit down and write some fucking stories and send them to fucking magazines, and I can't believe that I'm still too chickenshit to do it. I guess it's good that I spent $40,000 on something that will not help people hire me.

English degrees are bullshit. When you're an undergraduate, people tell you to follow your dreams. I watch people follow their dreams every weekend at the art college library I work at. I want to tell them that their sketches are beautiful, but they will be in the same shitty river as everyone else when they graduate. You SHOULD follow your passions, especially if your passions include accounting, engineering, or science. If your passions fall outside of those tantalizing realms, you are invited to join my book club. I will give you enough notice to buy the book used online, because you will never make enough money to afford full retail price at Barnes & Noble ever again. Except for maybe the week after your birthday or Christmas.

I don't regret my degree. I would love to be a librarian. But as I face some really bleak job prospects, about to finish my degree, I can't help wonder what the fuck am I supposed to do? I currently work full-time at the publishing company and 16 hours at the library on weekends. It's fucking stupid insane.

Anyways, I'm only writing this blog post to avoid finishing a paper. My second to last assignment in grad school. I wonder what my next avoiding to write waste of time and money will be.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

This is Just Awesome

This was posted on eject and I thought it was fantastic. Figured I'd repost for my zero readers. You're welcome, my sweets.